Real Estate Data API Can Help Agents Harness The Power Of “New” To Attract Clients

real estate data API

Here we are in a new year and one strategy to consider is the use of a Real Estate Data API to add something new to your website.

Real estate and mortgage experts predict this is going to be a tough year, at least for the first half or so. (See our recent forecast blog).

But you can use the power of “new” as one of your strategies to garner an edge in the marketplace.

Here’s one reason why.

Humans are hard-wired to be on the lookout for something new.

Researchers actually placed volunteers for a study in an MRI to measure their brain activity. When those subjects chose something new, the scans showed their brains lit up, literally.

Experts believe that dopamine, the neurons that make us happy, are more active when they see something new.

That’s the positive power of new.

Don’t just say new for newness sake

But the concept of newness also has a trap attached to it.

It’s called the “fallacy of novelty.”

Just because a company says they are offering something new, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better.

Remember “New Coke?” Those folks probably wince every time that failed strategy is discussed in marketing classes on college campuses. It’s a “classic” example of what not to do.

Here’s the other big point in regard to the power of new.

It’s smart to bring something better to the table.

Real Estate Data API can provide “power” content

For brokers and agents, one very simple way to add something new to your website is to work with national real estate data providers such as Home Junction.

These data providers have the sources and the technology to gather, sort and disseminate massive amounts of real estate relevant data.

Information that home buyers and sellers want to see.

For example:

    • School data
    • School attendance zones
    • Recent property sales
    • Trends in home prices
    • Neighborhood demographics
    • Cost of Living research
    • Crime statistics
    • Boundaries such as municipal taxing districts

Another popular product to consider adding is a Home Valuation Plugin. This home estimator tool is super-popular with consumers. Just ask the folks at the mega real estate portal that rhymes with “pillow.”

The process is relatively simple. All you need to do is add a few snippets of code in the form of a Real Estate Data API (Applied Programming Interface). Those bits of code then allow an agent to tap into a storehouse of valuable hyper-local data.

That data can apply to the county, zip code or even down to the neighborhood or subdivision level.

Adding a new Real Estate Data API to your website would be adding a new feature with substance. This information has a real impact on the decisions people will make in regard to buying and selling a property.

This is “new” information people will look for online. They are going to find it one way or another. They might find it on a competitor’s website or they might find it on a national real estate portal.

Either way, an agent runs the risk of being ignored if they don’t provide this valuable content.

Property data gives you substance for social media

Tapping into a Real Estate Data API also provides another benefit regarding the power of “new.”

With a data feed from companies such as Home Junction, brokers and agents will constantly have fresh content they can promote in the marketplace.

Send out an email blast showing a link to a chart on your website with the latest trends in property sales.

Get specific. Don’t just send out a link for a chart on county activity, but send one out specifically for the neighborhoods you are farming.

Do the same on social media. The competition on social media for people’s attention is intense.

In a recent survey by Realtor.com, 90% of agents say they plan to use social media to promote themselves.

That’s a lot of clutter. How are you going to separate yourself from the others?

Showing news about the direction of home sales or prices is one way.

Another is announcing that consumers can now get the answer to “What is my home worth?” on your website.

(Speaking of new, every time a home owner checks out the guesstimate on their home, they will see a new figure and new market data. Very powerful).

Sure, many business people understand the power of new. They might redesign their website to make it look fresher or more organized. They might redesign their logo to make it look more contemporary.

But if you are really going to go through the trouble of creating something new, make sure it has meaning and value to the audience you are targeting.

Humans are hard-wired for newness. It’s a powerful magnet to attract attention.

Start the new year off with a substantive, beneficial hyper-local Real Estate Data API that helps you utilize that power.

 

 

 

Survey Shows How Much Consumers Use Home Value Widgets To Find What Their Home Is Worth

home value widgetWhile there is much debate in real estate circles about Home Value Widgets or estimator tools, one thing is very clear.

Consumers want to know, “What is my home worth?”

A recent survey conducted by Nerd Wallet in conjunction with the Harris Poll bears this out.

According to their results, 73% of respondents say “Yes,” knowing the value of their home is important to them.

We’re surprised it’s not higher because frankly, a home is usually the biggest item people own.

But here’s another important finding from the survey – 22% of homeowners said they used an online home value widget to find estimates on what their home was worth.

These numbers are significant.

What’s also significant is that today, local brokers and agents now have the ability to add their own home value widgets to their websites.

That national real estate portal that rhymes with “willow” is no longer the only home guessitmate game in town.

By partnering with national real estate data providers such as Home Junction, a local agent can provide a home value estimation tool of their own to catch the attention of homeowners and generate their own leads.

Home value widgets serve this function

There are probably two ways to look at a home value estimator tool.

One might be to simply dismiss the concept, repeating the same old argument that these estimates are not as exact as a Comparative Market Analysis.

But that misses the point.

A home value widget, more technically known as an AVM (Automated Valuation Model), is not meant to be as accurate as a CMA.

That’s not the purpose.

The real purpose is to light a spark for homeowners who might be interested in learning more about the potential value of their home and current market conditions, after they use this tool.

A home value widget is basically a way to start a conversation.

In other words, a lead generation tool.

The great benefit for brokers and agents is that with a home value widget, you don’t need to get 100 phone calls a month asking for more detailed information to make it work. After all, the products you are selling are not toasters, but $300k to $1 million dollars properties.

Just one lead that turns into a listing is huge.

Improvements in home value estimator calculations

What’s even better is that now as we enter 2019, many of the bugs and issues with calculations have improved as the machines now have more historical data and results to work with.

Home value widgets are much better than the days when they were first introduced and prices were all over the place.

Now real estate data providers how more access to property sales records, mortgage data, county records, MLS listings, property characteristics, comparable sales and other sources of information.

The machines are learning…and getting smarter with their estimates.

The computer algorithms have become more advanced and offer a better estimate of a home value’s at a certain point in time. Sure it’s not 100% accurate. The true value of a home will only be determined when someone signs a contract.

These numbers are a starting point.

The quick estimates are also helpful to compare the value of a property with the values of other homes on the same street or in the same neighborhood.

In addition, based on the amount of information provided and how current it is, algorithms have now been developed to offer a better “confidence range” to make it clear about the potential “highs and lows” with any estimate.

Consumers can see, sure here’s what a website presented as a possible value for your property, but there is also a + plus or – minus margin of error to consider.

Most consumers will understand this. They will realize these are fast, machine-based estimates and nothing like a formal CMA.

Multiple opportunities for lead generation

In fact, this presents another opportunity for agents to start a conversation.

After the results come up, offer to help explain how the calculations were created. Talk about all the factors that are involved in developing a true CMA.

There’s no denying, knowing what a home is worth is important to consumers.

An estimate is important to know not only for the sake of their investment in their home, but also for possible refinancing, home equity, homeowner’s insurance and tax assessments.

Promote the fact that you, as a local real estate agent, now provide a home value widget for local residents.

Include a note in your mailings, your email blasts and your social media posts.

People are going to trust someone who lives and works in their neighborhood for answers. They are going to trust that you can help them interpret the results since you live and breathe these local property values in your line of work.

Experts predict 2019 might be a tight year for home sales.

But this advance in real estate technology/lead gen is now available to local agents.

Can you afford not to provide a home value widget on your website, especially when the surveys show consumers want to know these estimates and will use these tools?

 

 

 

 

Real Estate Forecast For 2019 Shows A Dip, But A Nice Rebound On Horizon With Still Low Loan Rates

real estate forecast

Despite all the uncertainty hovering over the economy, one real estate forecast for 2019 points to a silver lining for home sales this year and especially the following year.

One place where we like to review housing forecasts is the Mortgage Finance Forecast from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

After all, these people need to have their fingers on the pulse of the market as much as Realtors. If there aren’t many mortgages being underwritten, there ain’t going to be many home sales either.

But their outlook is promising.

Real estate forecast 2018 vs. 2019

For example this is how they see existing homes sales (including condos) per quarter for 2019 compared to 2018 (in thousands)

  • Q15,387 vs. 5,507 last year
  • Q2 5,553 vs. 5413
  • Q35,641 vs. 5,273
  • Q45,659 vs. 5,275 forecast, official tally not in

There’s an upturn predicted for EVERY quarter except for the first one.

The forecast for 2020 looks very promising, where sales are predicted to take off like one of Elan Musk’s rockets.

(Ironically, the innovator has plans to send his massive Space X rocket to Mars the first years of the next decade. Sure shows an optimistic spirit. That enthusiasm might just catch on, since we know much of the economy is driven psychologically. Just saying).

The 2020 forecast for Total Existing Homes Sales (in thousands) is very bullish.

  • Q1 – 5,701
  • Q2 – 5,732
  • Q3 – 5,707
  • Q4 – 5,722

See the bump. The MBA says home sales will be 5,387,000 these first few months but predicts growth upward to 5,701,000 in the same period in 2020.

That’s cause for optimism.

To sum it up, here’s the total forecast for existing home sales per year in the next few years:

  • 2018 – 5,367,000 
  • 2019 – 5,560,000
  • 2020 – 5,721,000
  • 2021 – 5,848,000

That’s a very nice picture indeed.

2019 mortgage rates will increase slightly, but are still incredibly low

The outlook for mortgage rates which affect home sales is optimistic as well.

In 2018, 30-year fixed mortgage rates ranged around the 4.5% rate and trended upward.

For 2019, here’s the prediction from the MBA:

  • Q1 – 4.8%
  • Q2 – 4.9%
  • Q3 – 5%
  • Q4 – 5%

For 2020, the mortgage economists predict a slight bump averaging 5.1%.

Sure, many people start to panic when they see mortgage rates increase.

However, when you put a 4.8% interest rate in perspective for the rate in the past 40 years, it’s still a blessing with a big “B” for home buyers.

According to Freddie Mac, in January 1982, mortgage rates for 30-year fixed home loans were as high as 17.5%.

Ouch. Talk about burdensome monthly payments.

For decades mortgages rates hovered in the 7% to 9% range.

They finally broke into the 3.8% range in 2012.

Show that chart to any Millennial who might be concerned about mortgage rates going up.

Just point out, folks, “you ain’t seen high mortgage rates” like we used to experience in the old days.

The mortgage and real estate industry probably need to do a concerted effort this year to remind consumers how these mortgage rates are still at bargain basement levels.

A few decades ago, this writer remembers when his father told him about the 4% mortgage rate he paid in the 1960s. Wow, did that sound incredible compared to the 10% rates that were prevalent at that time.

Who would have ever thought incredibly cheap rates would drop to those levels again?

But they have. Millennials weren’t around in the 60s so they don’t realize just how good they got it.

One role of a real estate professional is to remind them.

Learn about lead gen and other upgrades

Sure, the real estate business had a nice boom going for a few years. A slowdown is inevitable. The market ebbs and flows just like the tide.

The tide might go out a little in the next few months. But the loan experts who monitor and forecast the markets closely see improvements coming quickly thereafter.

According to the MBA, keep your eye on the immediate horizon toward mid-summer. The winds are going to be blowing favorably and those home sales are going to be picking up once again.

One more point – when things slow down, business people tend to pull back on their marketing efforts. But McGraw Hill once conducted a study that found those businesses that stepped up their marketing efforts in a downturn actually did better than those who buried their heads in the sand.

And when the economy recovered, those aggressive companies were already up to speed and able to go full throttle

If you want  input on some smart real estate and mortgage lead generation, social media and other marketing strategies for 2019, contact the experts at Home Junction.

We have a giant array of proven marketing tools that consumers want such as:

  • Home Value Widgets (Automated Valuation Models) and plug-ins that are very effective for lead generation)
  • Real Estate Data APIs that can supply a vast amount of hyper-local data from school information, school attendance zones, recent property sales, market trends, neighborhood demographics, local amenities and much more. Great fodder for social media posts.
  • Geo-spatial boundary information and mapping capabilities
  • WordPress real estate themes that are search-engine enhanced to optimize content and Google and Bing rankings
  • WordPress real estate plug-ins to add super features to any real estate website
  • MLS API services and feeds that are fast, accurate and updated regularly to provide the latest listing info
  • SEO services to help improve free organic rankings for targeted keywords

It costs nothing to speak with one of our experts. The phone number is 858-777-9533.

But that call to learn the latest advances in real estate technology could just be the difference that gives your firm a competitive edge in 2019, and puts you in a great position for the rebound predicted to come.

 

 

 

Real Estate Data API Can Be One Of The Convincing Elements In Any Agent’s Sales Pitch

real estate data api

A Real Estate Data API can help add more factual impact and less hype to an agent’s sales presentation.

As we all know, in this day and age most consumers shy away from a “sales” pitch.

Many sound hokey and unauthentic. Consumers know they have a device in their pocket that can verify and check any facts. In addition, the public is bombarded by hundreds of sales pitches every day from legit commercials to phony phone scams.

Consequently, they have developed quite a few filters.

Still home sales are sales. And as the saying goes, “nothing happens until someone sells something.”

A sales pitch is simply a presentation – whether visual or verbal – that communicates the value of your services in a way that entices the potential client to become a client or entices a home shopper to purchase a home.

That’s where a Real Estate Data API tool can be an advantage. The API (Application Programming Interface) is basically a few lines of code that feeds a giant warehouse of hyper-local real estate market information into an agent’s website.

Here are some tips on what to include in a persuasive presentation and how to weave local real estate market data throughout to add more impact and credibility.

Use a Real Estate Data API to be visual

It’s been proven many times over that visual material attract customers like a magnet, compared to other marketing methods. So it’s smart to include graphical material such as charts and data.

A clean, modern, and authoritative brand with local property data raises confidence in your services.

Start with your website.

Your website is the first contact point most potential clients will ever have with you, so incorporating Real Estate Data API tools into your website enhances instant gratification when it comes to finding the information they want, fast.

Add charts showing Recent Property Sales or Trends in Home Prices.

Show school information integrated with maps to show just how close a school is to a property in question.

Include pie charts on Neighborhood Demographics.

Add lists of businesses near the property in question. As we discussed in previous blogs, the location of a Whole Foods or a Costco or even a Starbucks near a home can have a major influence on a home buyer.

The beauty of adding this content to your website is that you can also incorporate all of these principles in a personal presentation with a brochure or slideshow.

That local property data shows who you are and what you do in one glance.

Communicate your value proposition

One of the keys to sales is a concept called the “value proposition.” That basically means, why should a home owner or buyer choose you over other agents. What’s the value that you bring to the table?

You need to communicate to the potential client how you will solve their problem.

This is not just an opportunity for you to talk about yourself and be “salesy.”

It’s about honing in on your target client, finding out their needs, their pain points, their particular situation, and telling them how you’ll fix it in the way that they respond to best.

Your client’s problem might be selling their home quickly. Or overcoming some deficiency.

For a home buyer, it might be helping them negotiate a deal with an unrealistic seller. There are dozens of scenarios that need to be addressed. And as everyone knows, no two clients are alike.

A Real Estate Data API  is one very effective tool that can help you solve their problems in the most efficient way, giving them an edge when it comes to narrowing down the correct pricing for homes in the area or presenting market conditions that make it a smart time to buy or sell.

Tell a story

Stories are a powerful persuasion device. They have a way of presenting information in a way that capture’s someone’s attention without boring them. This is also an easy way for people to absorb information and understand it.

You can craft engaging stories – perhaps tell a client about the family that recently moved into the neighborhood and their children thrived in the great schools there. Or about that fellow down the street who was reluctant to list his house at first, but when he did, he received three offers in one day and is now happily retired in Arizona.

Whether you go the route of literally telling a story that includes ways you can solve your clients’ problems, or simply incorporate humanizing and relatable elements into your presentation, consumers will listen.

Describe the solution

The more details you can offer on how you will solve someone’s problem, the more they will be interested.

Including a discussion about how you have access to the latest hyper-local Real Estate Data API is definitely one detail you want to add.

Facts. Charts. Statistics. These components will easily make the case for you. They will show you really are an agent with local knowledge.

If your client’s problem is being unsure of how to price their home for its size and condition, relative to the other similar homes in the area, you will be able to use your Real Estate Data API tools to show comparisons of the exact parameters needed.

And, you can let them know you will use that same data to convince visitors that this home is priced right for this market and they would be smart to grab it now.

Provide proof and then make a call for action

No matter how solid your presentation may be, nobody is going to become a client unless they have seen some proof – both social and data. A video or image testimonial from a raving client, a comparison chart, or offer of extra benefits can all provide assurance.

No presentation – or any marketing effort, for that matter – would be complete without a call to action.

This is what takes the potential client from simple awareness of you, to picking up the phone and calling you.

Your call to action may be as simple as signing up for your mailing list, or as dynamic as calling you on the phone for a live consultation. Whatever the case, make the action as easy to perform as possible for your potential client.

Creating an effective sales pitch or presentation is easy when you use these solid principles.

Incorporating a Real Estate Data API with local facts is one sure way to move your presentation up several levels in the mind of potential clients, and establish a sense of trust in your ability to get the answers and outcomes they want.